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Book Review: Adultery

Updated on July 4, 2018
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Original title
August 19, 2014

What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge, the feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery
Adultery: A Novel
Adultery: A Novel
Adultery deals with the moral crisis of a professionally successful, married journalist who cheats on her rich husband,


Adultery is a novel by the famous Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It is the 16th major book by the author. As evident from the name, this novel is based on the theme of adultery and the author tries to analyse the reasons why people commit adultery.

Nothing happens without effort. You have to have faith. And for that, you have to break down the barriers of prejudice, which requires courage. To have courage, you must conquer your fears. And so on and so forth. Let’s make peace with our days. We can’t forget that life is on our side. It also wants to get better. Let’s help it out!

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery


The novel deals with the story of a woman Linda in her thirties who is bored of her monotonous routine. She has a perfect life on the surface. She is married to a rich and successful man who loves her. She has beautiful children. She herself is an acclaimed journalist. But still she feels extreme boredom in her life which is slowly pushing her towards depression. She had a chance encounter with her ex-boyfriend who is now a successful politician. She had gone to interview him and she ends up having sex with him. They start an affair which she finds very exciting. And now she wants to conquer her love at any cost. Towards the end, she ends her affair just as abruptly as she had started it. She didn’t even bother to explain the reason to her lover.

Going after a dream has a price. It may mean abandoning our habits, it may make us go through hardships, or it may lead us to disappointment, et cetera. But however costly it may be, it is never as high as the price paid by people who didn’t live. Because one day they will look back and hear their own heart say: ‘I wasted my life.’

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery

My Review

The theme of the novel seemed quite interesting but something is amiss. I find boredom as a reason to start an affair quite illogical. The heroine of the novel comes across a self-centered person who is concerned only about her happiness and doesn’t care how her actions are going to affect others. The author has tried to analyse in-depth the psychology behind adultery. He has reasoned that boredom is the reason that people resort to adultery. At one point, he says “What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge, the feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.”

C oming from the acclaimed author like Paulo Coelho, the book is a let down. Delving deep into the psyche of a woman whose marriage was routine, the author tries to conjure up an interesting tale of redeemed love but fails miserably. The protagonist Linda fails to evoke any sympathy. I wasn't able to like her, empathise with her or even understand her. The pacing, the narration, the writing style of the book is just perfect but the problem lies in the content. Linda is a highly selfish woman who is only concerned with self gratification. The author has tried hard to justify her but boredom is a flimsy reason for adultery.

My Rating- 2/5

You don’t choose your life; it chooses you. There’s no point asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs, you just accept them and carry on. We can’t choose our lives, but we can decide what to do with the joys or griefs we’re given.

— Paulo Coelho, Adultery

'Adultery' Quiz

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About The Author

Paulo Coelho is bestselling Brazilian novelist who is recipient of many international awards.He is best known for his critically acclaimed novel The Alchemist. His other prominent works include The Piligrimage, Brida, Like The Flowing River, The Devil and Miss Prym, Eleven Minutes, Manuscript Found In Accra, The Spy, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, The Fifth Mountain, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Valkyries, Veronika Decides to Die and Manual of the Warrior of Light.

Paulo Coelho: Hear What the Universe Is Telling You

© 2018 Shaloo Walia


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